September 26, 2012



Our saga of the hour-by-hour battle for territory on the broadcast network landscape continues.  Today, the motley group of series that make up Wednesdays–although due to scheduling strategies and the first Presidential debate on October 3, some of the new arrivals won’t be launching for a couple of weeks.  (Note, again, that CW’s  targeted demo doesn’t affect the other broadcast networks very much.)

8PM:  ANIMAL PRACTICE/GUYS WITH KIDS (NBC) vs. THE MIDDLE/THE NEIGHBORS (ABC) vs. SURVIVOR (CBS) vs. THE X FACTOR (FOX):  The hour should go to FOX, but mostly for a lack of serious competition.  X Factor‘s 2d season, despite its much-vaunted addition of Britney Spears, has been even less impressive in the ratings so far than the first, and the show will probably be in the low 3s, just a few tenths above the aptly-titled Survivor.  The Middle has been a solid but never breakout success for ABC, and the awful The Neighbors won’t help the hour for ABC.  NBC could make some inroads with its new sitcom duo, if only they weren’t both so grindingly mediocre.

9PM:  LAW & ORDER: SVU (NBC) vs. MODERN FAMILY/SUBURGATORY (ABC) vs. CRIMINAL MINDS (CBS) vs. THE X FACTOR (FOX):  Modern Family should continue to romp at 9PM; the question is whether Suburgatory, a middling performer at 8:30PM last year, will be boosted enough by its new lead-in for ABC to win the full hour, or if the 2d half of Criminal Minds and/or X Factor will let CBS or FOX pull ahead.  SVU has fallen so far in the past couple of years that it’s lucky to still be on the air, and it’s never performed well when NBC has previously tried it in the 9PM slot.

10PM:  CHICAGO FIRE (NBC) vs. NASHVILLE (ABC) vs. CSI (CBS):  A potentially big hour for ABC.  Chicago Fire feels so old-fashioned that the NBC demo for the hour may be older than the one for 13th -season CSI on CBS.  Thinking of which, that show got a breath of new life with the arrival of Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue last season, but it’s still nowhere near the powerhouse it used to be.  Nashville is a big-tent, very entertaining soap that should have wider appeal than last season’s Revenge, and could crown the night for ABC.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."